Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Weekend Movie Marathon

Could not have killed more effectively and uselessly than how we did last weekend. Watched five new tamil films continously burning the midnight oil and sacrificing a pleasant weekend sleep. As usual Praveen, Muthusivam and myself assembled at Subramani's home on saturday. At around nine the show started with a reasonably good movie starring Sundar.C. Probably because of the reason that no one has seen a new movie for months, we continued with the next movie. This time it was one of the new released Ajith's film. The film was not that good but expectations took us to the third movie and it started by around 3am.

The third film was "Thottal Poo malarum". If we were in Tamilnadu, there is very little chance that we would have seen a movie like that. When the film ended it was nearly morning. Due to the unstoppable enthu of Musi and Mani, we sat for the fourth film. The fourth films was "Arya" starring Mathavan and Bavana. Totally disgusting it was still Muthusivam, Praveen and myself managed to see the full movie. It was at around 8.20 in the morning we felt like sleeping and slept for around three hours before we started the fifth and the final film.

The fifth film was "Pallikoodam" a movie that reminded us about the school life. Resembled a little like Autograph, but has fallen short in some aspects. Still it is a movie worth watching. With that ended the "Weekend movie Marathon".

Later in the morning we realised we were not the only people to stay awake all night for the sound has kept Subramani's neighbors from sleeping too :) . Poor fellows, atleast they should have joined us for the film :) . Anyway one more night like this is a bit far, since it would surely take a little time for the wrath of neighbours to subside :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Perl6 - A step ahead

Got an opportunity to attend Perl Mongers users meet here in bangalore. Because of my friend Subramani, i was there at the meet and it turned out to be a mind boggling session. The meet was about the features of Perl6 that is yet to be released. We reached the meeting a little late and when we reached the meeting has started and the speaker was talking about "pugs". "pugs" stands for Perl6 user golfing system. Looks like Larry Wall wanted perl6 to be a community developed project. Pugs is one of the sucessfull implementations of the specification written by Larry Wall. Pugs is written fully in a language called Haskel. Pugs could produce output in Haskell, perl5 or if you want in Java script so that it can be viewed in browser !

One of the most important feature of Perl6 is that, it supports inline C, python and inline java. It was awesome to see a java code inside a perl program. Yet another feature in perl6 was Hyperoperators which helps in exploiting parallelism. An example of hyperoperators is

[2, 2, 3, 5] >>+<< [4, 4, 3, 1] (result would be [6, 6, 6, 6])

Not only hyperoperators, hypermethods are also available. An example would be like [1, 4, 9, 16] >>. sqrt

One more change in perl6 is that, while loop is no longer used. It is also possible to assign multiple values to variable like $city = "chennai" | "bangalore" and check the variable for any of the values like any <$city> == "chennai". There are a lot other options available with Perl6 but i could not remember a lot that was said in the meeting. The biggest blunder i did was going to the meeting without a scribble pad and pen. Still the meeting was very informative and i am planning to attend more meetings.

With Perl6, it is possible to change the language to match that of the problem. A video in the meet said "it is not reinventing the wheel, but keeping the wheel and reinventing the whole machine". It seemed to be true. Today learnt it is possible to run pug in the browser without download or installation. Check out this site http://feather.perl6.nl:8080/runpugs/

The Perl meeting was the only usefull thing that i did during the weekend. The next post would be on what i did after the meet or perhaps "how to kill time during weekend without much trouble" :).

Friday, August 17, 2007

GNU Emacs on HP UX

After a little bit of struggle with using vi for editing files and then with the installation of Emacs, finally figured out how to install Emacs on a HP UX machine. I started the installation with Emacs-21.4 and then switched over to Emacs-22.1, since i could not find anything about the errors throws while compiling emacs-21.4.

Followed the usual rules of ./configure and make to install but faced hell a lot of problems with that. First ./configure should be run with the option --without-gcc as HP UX does not contain gcc. With that option configure runs to completion without error. The next step is "make" and this is where i ran into lot of problems. First thing is that, in the Makefile inside lib-src directory there is a rule to copy rcs2log, rcs-checkin, vcdiff, grep-changelog from ../ to lib-src. These files are already present in the directory, hence HP make reports an error saying that the files are identical but with gnu make there will not be any problem. So was forced to comment the four rules which copies the files to the directory.

After this is done, i tried to start emacs but got the most common error "Segmentation Fault (core dumped)". Looked like a bug in the emacs source code. Found this link where RMS has discussed this problem. The problem occurs since the uninitialized static pointers. All it required was set the initialize the static pointers to NULL. See this link for more details regarding the solution. So atlast i had the opportunity to correct the Emacs source code :) . Did that and ran "make" and now I have the most powerfull editor in almost all the machines i work.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Visit to Bhara Chukki

After visits to the prominent places in Bangalore like lalbagh, Garuda mall this time we ventured a little outside Bangalore. Was able to kill one day leave with a visit to Bhara Chukki falls near sivasamudra. Sivasamudra is around 120 KM from Bangalore and near a place called Kolegal. Since we chose KSRTC as the mode of transport it took around 3 hours to reach the place. From there once has to travel 7 KM in auto through a rugged road to reach the falls. There are two falls called Bhara Chukki and Gangana Chukki.  "Chukki" looked weird,  later we learnt that Chukki means waterfalls.

The auto are optimistic to the extent that they feel that 20 people can dump into a single auto. Not even a single inch inside the auto is wasted. But the pain is worth taking for you the destiny will be a dip in the cool  waters of river cauvery. Cauvery flows silently amidst the roars of tourists. The water was cool inspite of the hot climate. Since we did not have extra clothes we were not able to enjoy much. After that we returned to bangalore with a bumpy ride in the last seat of the KSRTC trip, with the usual chatting and  teasing.

The best way to go there might be to arrange personal transport and to visit the places like "thalai Kaveri"  and other falls around there.  Though it was a tiring trip it is memorable as it is the first trip outside bangalore.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Backup files in Emacs

This could be useful for novices in Emacs who are yet to hack the Emacs lisp like me. Users of Emacs might be aware of the backup files that are created by emacs when a file is edited.  These backup files are named with ~ following the name. These files could be a nuisance at times. Emacs can be stopped from creating the backup files by adding the following lines in .emacs

(setq make-backup-files nil)

To move the backup files to some other directory the following lines should be added .emacs file.

(setq make-backup-files t)
(make-directory "/tmp/emacsbackup" t)
(setq version-control t)
(setq backup-directory-alist (quote (("." . "/tmp/emacsbackup/"))))

(setq version-control t) will cause different versions of the backup file to be generated. Remove this line if you do not want different version of  file to be generated.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rocking With Emacs :)

Atlast configured Emacs to play songs also. The only useful thing that myself and subramani did during this weekend might be this. We did that in Subrmani's system, a HP Laptop with Ubuntu Fiesty Fawn installed. Fortunately it had ALSA installed and configured. Yet to check whether OSS was the problem in my system. But  it was good to configure Emacs to play songs and hear songs using Emacs.

For those who are not able to understand anything from this post, Emacs is a powerfull editor in GNU/Linux with a lot of features  that makes it impossible to call it as a editor. Emacs can also be made to play songs using EMMS, Emacs Mulitmedia System.

All it required was to install emms package and other packages like emacs21-el, emacs-extra. Then we need a console media player like mplayer or mpg321. In our case, we had MPlayer installed in the laptop. Then the following lines are to be added in the .emacs file to enable Emacs to play songs,

(require 'emms-setup)

There are a lot of options associated with EMMS and with Emacs-Lisp it is possible to fine tune it. But learning Emacs-Lisp still remains as a distant dream. Anyway check out  the EMMS homepage for more information about EMMS. Remember my guru telling me that "With Emacs nothing is possible, the next step with Emacs is making coffee with Emacs".  Who knows in the near future Emacs can do that also.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Outlook -> Thunderbird & Thunderbird -> Outlook

After many filed attempts to configure Thunderbird as the mail client for  M$ exchange server, atlast succeeded in the attempt. Will give a  brief overview of how i configured Thunderbird for MS exchange server. The process was fairly simple all you have to do is

1) Select Incoming server type as POP mail server
2) Dont forget to select "Never" in "Use Secure Connection" column.

These are the two options that need to be taken care, all other options are straight forward. The outgoing SMTP server address should also be given, which might the same as that of incoming server. With these options i was able to configure Thunderbird for M$ exchange server. One problem i encountered while using Thunderbird for M$ exchange server is that i was not able to keep track of calendars and meetings.  Found one good addon for keeping track of meetings and appointments, called as RememberFox. RememberFox is a addon for firefox and thunderbird, that is used to keep track of meetings and  appointment. RememberFox looked really cool to me.

Since i used outlook for one month was unable to keep track of the sent mails, deleted mails etc and finally decided to switch back to M$ Outlook. This is where got stuck with the format clashes. Outlook uses the proprietory .pst format to store mails while thuderbird  uses .mbox format and stores it as a separate file called Inbox. The method was to export the .mbox file into .eml file(which looked more like plain text file with all mail headers) using a tool  called IMAPSize. Then using Outlook express as an intermediate the mails can be exported to Outlook. Check out the IMAPSize home for a detailed description about the process.

My aim was to configure GNUS or Mutt and to use them as my mail clients but still i am not able to do that. Probably should try that  after bringing my system here to my new home.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Fedora 8.1 Testing Released

The alpha or testing edition of Fedora 8 has been released yesterday. It  was interesting to see the screenshots of Fedora 8. Fedora 8 comes with a  lot of features and newly released softwares. If everything  goes well we may be able to enjoy Fedora 8 with KDE4.0, Firefox 3.0 etc etc when the stable  version is released on November 8. Here are few links about Fedora 8.

Screenshots - http://www.thecodingstudio.com/opensource/linux/screenshots/index.php?linux_distribution_sm=Fedora%208%20Test%201
Fedora 8 wiki - http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Releases/8/

With the gusty gibbon gearing up to be released, we could expect some healthy competition.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Bad Bad Conductors

Thought not to blog about this, still could not resist. It is about the same old thing that is quite common in banglore buses. If you cant understand anything read this first. Following is my experience with the conductors in BMTC buses.

First trip: Was going from my home along with my friend to my office. Cost of the ticket was Rs.5. Gave ten rupees and asked for two tickets, as usual the conductor gave two rupees as commission. This time i asked for the ticket and the conductor politely took back the two rupee commission and gave back the ticket.

Second trip: This time it was from my office to home. Gave 10 rupees and asked for two tickets. As usual got two rupees as commission. I asked for the ticket. The conductor thought i was trying to strike a deal and added one more rupee to the commission !!!. I refused and conductor gave a disgusting look as though i am trying to take away his hard earned money. Finally got back the ticket.

Third trip: It happened today morning. As usual gave 10 rupees for two tickets. The conductor searched for two rupees. Alas ! he could not find the change. Wondering what he did ? Gave two nine rupees tickets, that he has managed to preserve for days and walked away. Still he looked a little sad that he had to give those tickets to us. Dont know how old the tickets were. Some passenger had given the ticket to the conductor to show the amount and get back the change written on the back of the ticket and this conductor found good use for that.

Heard that this practice is in existence for a very long time. Someone told me that even Tamil super star, Rajnikanth has done this when he started his career as a conductor.

Deathly Hallows At last

At last completed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Thanks to my friend Praveen for lending me his  book. As usual devoted one whole night for the book. Though "Deathly Hallows" was the most awaited book of the Harry Potter series, i could not quite allocate time to read the book quicky. I took more than a week to finish the book.  Anyway finally completed one of the greatest work of JKR.

"Deathly Hallow" was a little slugish in the begining. But after around 300 pages, the plot thickens and what follows is a hard core agical adventure, potrayed in JKR's style. The fan fiction books and fan's predictions before the book was released, did spoil the thrill and suspense a bit. Pottermaniacs active in the web, have predicted almost every possible way the plot of "Deathly Hallow" can be written. When i first read "Chamber of secrets" i had no clue about harry potter and the plot made me an ardent fan of Harry Potter. I read Deathly Hallows after reading a fake book, lot of reviews & plot spoilers and after seeing the ending in news channel. If not for JKR's style i would have felt little boring.

I felt more like looking through the pensieve into Harry Potter memories than reading the book. So engrossed in the plot that it was difficult to push aside the deaths of characters in the book.  Could not count how many characters JKR managed to murder in the final book but it was purely a blood bath, like she mentioned in the interviews. One good thing about the book is that JKR has tried to focus on all the characters in the book and has succeeded to a greater extent. Justification about Snape's activities and his love story was heart touching. If JKR has wished the book could have been made a little smaller. But these things dont really affect Harry Potter fans.

When i finished the book at 3.30 in the night, could not believe that  have come to the end of one of the most interesting series. Don't know why but the book aroused all hidden sentiments. The end of the book was not that important, because whether harry potter is alive or not, there is not going to be one more book about the boy wizard. Though Rowling has suggested that she might continue with the series, it was evident from the story line that there is very little probablity of her doing it. Though JKR has put an end to Harry Potter, hope harry potter continues to live on.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Winscp: Transfer with ease

Winscp, is a FTP, SFTP and SCP client for windows. It reduces the pain of transferring file and folders between windows and GNU/Linux to a greater extent. There are a lot of ways of transferring files and folders in GNU/Linux and Windows but to transfer file between a windows machine and GNU/Linux machine the only option i knew was FTP. Since FTP does not support directory structures, it was really painful to compress the directories as single file and transferring them and uncompressing them in the destination. Winscp seems to make the job a lot easier. It provides a secure and easy way to transfer file between and windows and GNU/Linux machines. For more information about winscp and to download winscp,check out Winscp's home page at http://winscp.net. The windows installer is just 1.8MB. The most
interesting feature about winscp is that it is released under GPL and is a free software.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Emacs: goto

How to go to a specified line in Emacs. Though i had this doubt for a very long time i never searched for it. Today got the answer when i was searching for some GDB stuffs. Anyway here it is. Add the following two lines in .emacs and restart emacs.

(global-unset-key [?\M-1])
(global-set-key [?\M-l] 'goto-line)

Now pressing Alt+1 or Esc+1 will prompt for the line to jump. Don't know whether there is anyother way but this is the first way i found.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A bad game

The whole indian cricket team will be in cloud nine after winning the test match against England comfortably. It was an occassion where the senior batsmen and bowlers showed their potential and helped India register a convincing win over England. This post is not about how they played but it was about something that happened during the match. England did better with the ball and with the mouth. I got the opportunity to see about one hour of India's first innings and i  happened to see Zaheer Khan giving a warning to Kevin Pieterson with his bat.  Probably England thought it was the last resort to win the game. If it was Navjot singh sidhu, he might have broken some English heads.

Sledging has long roots in the game of cricket. Its the one of the mighty tools used by Australia to get the wicket. I had the opinion  that Australia is the team best in sledging untill i saw some clips in Star sports. A lot of team seem to be enjoy sledging. Those clips showed  Flintoff and Sangakara sucessfully distracting the attention of the  batsmen and getting them out. Indians are winners in this regard. they  rarely involve in sledging. Santhakumaran Srisanth tried a bit but never sucessfull in that.

Cricket is called as gentlemen game but sledging makes it look bad.  Hope ICC comes up with some good rules or suggestion to reduce that.  The best thing would be players acting like real genttlemen. Comments  are required, but the nature of comment should be take care. But for viewers sitting in front or television, sledging gives something to munch for a while.